American Apparel and Footwear Association

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April 28, 2017

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – April 28, 2017 – The American Apparel & Footwear Association today reacted to the release of the Special 301 Report from the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR).

“Theft of intellectual property is a major concern for our industry and remains at the forefront of the resources we need to protect. As fake goods continue to traverse international borders, accounting for 2.5 percent of global imports according to the OECD, it is increasingly essential that governments work together to mitigate the threat. USTR’s Special 301 Report is an important part of this collaboration,” said Rick Helfenbein, president and CEO of the American Apparel & Footwear Association. “Counterfeiters actively steal our members’ work, which ultimately leads to lower sales and lost jobs. In addition, poor-quality – and potentially unsafe – product sold to consumers impact brand perception and, ultimately, our entire market becomes tainted. Make no mistake, counterfeiting is theft.”

Intellectual property protection is a key priority for the apparel, footwear, and travel goods industry. According to the United States Customs and Border Protection Agency’s Fiscal Year 2016 report, an estimated $1.38 billion worth of counterfeit and pirated goods was seized at the border last year. Of these goods, apparel and travel goods were two of the most common.

USTR’s Special 301 Report is an annual review of the global state of intellectual property protection and enforcement, which includes a review of more than 100 countries. As a result, USTR has placed 23 countries on the Watch List and 11 on the Priority Watch List.

AAFA submitted comments to the USTR in February for this report. Those comments can be found here.